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Alternative Fuels Research Within A Multidisciplinary Capstone Design Project

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Investigating Fuel Cells and Alternative Fuels in the Classroom and Lab

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.167.1 - 13.167.9



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Paper Authors

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Robert Pieri North Dakota State University

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Alan Kallmeyer NDSU

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Michael Stewart North Dakota State University

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Leslie Backer North Dakota State University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Alternative Fuels Research within a Multidisciplinary Capstone Design Project Abstract

This paper will describe the results of recent activities concerning the development of a hydrogen-diesel farm tractor test bed used within a capstone design project. The project, part of a "Wind to Hydrogen" program funded by the Department of Energy, received the support of a regional electric cooperative and equipment supplier to take a medium sized row crop diesel tractor and convert it to a dual fuel vehicle with minimal modifications. Performance results from the proof of concept phase will be reported.

Besides presenting experimental results, insights and experiences gained in the process of establishing a multidisciplinary student team will be described. The significant communication role played by web-based organizational tools and the impact of student skills on team effectiveness will be discussed. Future efforts will be described.


The purpose of this paper is to serve as an illustrative example of how a senior level capstone design experience can be utilized to conduct funded research in a new growing area. Results of the experimental work are presented as a way to demonstrate the quality of the research obtainable through the student team's efforts. The project took advantage of a nexus situation of an existing design course, a new funding opportunity, unique participants’ skills and available or donated resources. Each of these components and the project will be described in detail below, followed by results obtained to date, perceived impact on educational outcomes and desired follow on activities.

The Course

The Mechanical Engineering department at North Dakota State University (NDSU) has had a two semester, six credit (three per semester) senior design capstone course for more than 12 years. Although technically two courses the sequence is really handled as though it were a single course flowing through 30 weeks of academic time, exemplified by a single student team, one project and planning timeline for that entire period. Instructional guidance is provided through two department faculty members. Each faculty member is responsible for unique aspect of the course. One, which could be considered the "Instructor" is responsible for the administration of the course, assembling design project for the students, entering grades and other system requirements. The instructor has primary responsible for educating the students on the theoretical process of design. The second faculty member serves as a content specialist for the student team on their project. This faculty member is considered to "Mentor" the student team

Pieri, R., & Kallmeyer, A., & Stewart, M., & Backer, L. (2008, June), Alternative Fuels Research Within A Multidisciplinary Capstone Design Project Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3931

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